In the past two weeks, the coup in Niger has snowballed into a confrontation pitting the civilian-led states of ECOWAS against military juntas in West Africa. But the standoff is a symptom of broader dysfunctions in the global system that underscore the need for the EU and its members to reassess their approaches to foreign policy.
The coup in Niger caught much of the outside world by surprise, given the country’s image as a relatively stable outlier in a region beset by upheaval. But if foreign observers were stunned by President Mohamed Bazoum’s ouster, it did not come as a shock to many Nigeriens, and not solely because of Niger’s history of military coups.
If there has been a significant difference between the coup in Niger and others across the region in recent years, it has been in ECOWAS’ response to it. That highlights a nascent transition between waning Western power structures in the region and efforts to construct a new system of collective security there.